Yesterday, it seemed that Joe Biden and Republican lawmakers were close to reaching an agreement to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling, with little time to spare to avoid a possible default that could wreak havoc on the economy and global markets.
A US official told Reuters the deal being considered by negotiators would raise the government’s debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion for two years, with spending caps on most items. The official said it would also increase funding for military and veterans discretionary spending while essentially keeping non-defense discretionary spending at current year levels.
The agreement will cap the total amount the government can spend on discretionary programs including housing and education, according to a person familiar with the talks. According to another source, the two sides, who actually met on Thursday, are only $70 billion apart on a total figure that could be well over $1 trillion.
Republican negotiators backed away from plans to increase military spending while cutting non-defense spending and instead supported the White House’s push to treat the two parts of the budget more equally. Conversations are set to continue into the night.
What did McCarthy say yesterday? The Republican House speaker told reporters last night that the two sides had not reached an agreement. “We knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” he said.
What did Biden say? “Speaker McCarthy and I have had many productive conversations, and our staff is still meeting — as we speak, as a matter of fact — making progress,” Biden said last night at the White House. “There will be no default, and the time for Congress to act is now.”
Joe Biden’s advisers say he does not want to drag Pacific allies into a “reckless clash” between the United States and China
Senior advisers to Joe Biden have acknowledged that countries in the Indo-Pacific region do not want to be “trampled into a violent clash” between the United States and China.
In a webinar to an Australian audience on Friday, senior White House National Security Council officials said the US president wanted to give allies and other partners “breathing space” to engage with China constructively.
Edgard Kagan, the National Security Council’s senior director for East Asia and Oceania, said Biden was listening to the region’s concerns.
“I think the president is very focused on the fact that we can’t strengthen our relationships with allies and partners if we just try to cloud our views,” Kagan said. “It’s not what it is.”
What did China say? Beijing accused the G7 nations of collaborating for “defamation and attack” at last weekend’s summit in Hiroshima, Japan, after leaders articulated strong concerns about China’s actions in the region.
What did Biden say? After attending the summit, Biden told reporters to expect improvements in the US-China relationship, adding, “In terms of talking to them, I think you’re going to see a thaw very soon.”
The far-right founder of Oath Keepers has been sentenced to 18 years in prison over the January 6 attack
Stuart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right vigilante militia, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, after being found guilty of seditious conspiracy for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress.
Plaintiffs sought for 25 years. Rhodes’ attorneys said he should be sentenced to time served since his January 2022 arrest.
Before sentencing, US District Judge Amit Mehta told Rhodes that he was a constant threat to the US government, saying he clearly “wants democracy in this country to turn violent.”
“The moment you are released, whenever possible, you will be ready to take up arms against your government,” Mehta said.
Rhodes claimed that the allegation was politically motivated. “I am a political prisoner and my only crime, like President Trump, is to oppose those who are destroying our country,” he said.
What did he do on January 6th? He said he never entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 and insists he never told anyone else to do so. But Oath Keepers took an active role on Jan. 6, 2021, when a group instigated by Donald Trump made their way into the Capitol, trying to stop the certification of a victory Joe Biden in the election. Prosecutors succeeded in establishing that Rhodes and his group prepared an armed insurrection, including hiding the weapons in a Virginia hotel, with the intent of express transportation to Washington, D.C.
In other news…
A New York editor and literary investigator celebrates the discovery and release of an unpublished short story by James M. Cain, one of the greats of American Noir, “The Tabloid Killing Poet.” Who is best known for his work on film including The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity.
An FBI file relating to a visit of the late Queen Elizabeth II to the United States has revealed a possible plot to assassinate her. The document, available on the FBI’s online vault, outlines what appears to be intelligence provided to federal agents about a threat to the Queen’s life in California 40 years ago.
Elon Musk’s brain implant company, Neuralink, said yesterday that it had received the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin its first human clinical study.an important milestone after previous struggles to gain approval.
The parent behind Amanda Gorman’s ban on the poem at a Florida school appears to have attended Proud Boys rallies and previously posted antisemitic memes online. In one of the photos, the Daily Salinas appears to be standing next to Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the far-right neo-fascist group.
Today’s stats: More than 5,000 new species have been discovered in a mining hotspot in the depths of the Pacific Ocean
Scientists have discovered more than 5,000 new species living on the sea floor in an untouched region of the Pacific Ocean that has been identified as a future hotspot for deep-sea mining, according to a review of ecological surveys conducted in the area. This is the first time that the previously unknown biodiversity of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a mineral-rich region of the ocean floor spanning 1.7 million square miles between Hawaii and Mexico in the Pacific Ocean, has been documented. The research will be crucial for assessing the species’ extinction risk, since decades of deep-sea mining in the near-pristine region seem imminent. Most of the animals identified by the researchers who are exploring the area are new to science.
Don’t miss this: ‘I want my left eye back’: Those injured by police violence in 2020 speak out
“You don’t recover from something like this,” said journalist Linda Tirado, who was partially blinded after being shot by police while covering the protests that engulfed Minneapolis for months after George Floyd was slowly murdered in plain sight by a senior city police officer. Tirado is One of many who were injured in the protests that year and won a lawsuit against the city, which has already agreed to pay protesters at least $5.1 million in settlements — using city funds — and estimates they face an additional $100 million in payments. Potential outcome of lawsuits.Her settlement is just one of many to be added to what experts consider a record level of payments across the United States as a result of violent policing at the 2020 protests, and possibly more to come, Gloria Oladipo writes.
…or this: “We Don’t Have Deep Emotional Discussions”: Why Men Lose Their Friends – And How They Can Achieve More
Is there a difference in the friendships of men and women? There is, says Dr. Robin Dunbar, evolutionary anthropologist and psychologist, and leading researcher in the field of friends and friendship, although some may not want to believe it. Women’s friendships tend to be more personalized and binary: who you are is the most important thing. “Men’s friendships are more sociable, and in a sense anonymous—they matter more than who you are,” he says. A recent survey in the US found that men have fewer social ties than they used to, with only 27% saying they have at least six close friends. In 1990, this figure was 55%. During that period, the number of men reporting a lack of intimate friendships rose from 3% to 15%. There seems to be a slump in friendship, for men at least. But even in middle age, when the “friendship stagnation” is strongest, it is possible to reverse this trend.
Climate check: Seaweed could stave off severe weather-induced food crisis
Extreme weather events have reduced crop yields around the world, and many countries that import much of their food may soon face a crisis. Politicians hardly seem bothered by this, but luckily scientists think they’ve come up with a solution – subsea farming. This is not for fish but for seaweed which they call sea wheat. People have been eating seaweed for thousands of years but scientists believe that mass production of a species called Ulva, as a staple crop, will be necessary to prevent countries from food shortages. They realized that switching people from eating wheat to seaweed was not just a technical question about the best method for mass production, but a major cultural shift, and so called on chefs to create recipes for salads, stir-fries, and soups.
Last Thing: ‘Truth is Sacred’: Tom Hanks Delivers Keynote Speech, Receives Honorary Degree from Harvard
As the United States grapples with a misinformation crisis, Tom Hanks told the Harvard graduates yesterday that they are superheroes in their defense of the truth and American ideals, and to fight back against those who twist the truth for their own gain. “Because for some, truth is no longer empirical. It no longer relies on data, nor common sense, nor even common decency,” said the twice Oscar-winner during his keynote address. He recalled the Latin word for truth, “veritas,” the Harvard motto. “Telling the truth is no longer the standard of public service,” he said. “It is no longer a salve for our fears, or a guide for our actions. Truth is now considered malleable, by opinion and by a zero-sum game.” The Hollywood icon said this left the more than 9,000 graduates of Harvard’s 372nd graduation ceremony with a choice to make.
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